Free Microsoft Office 2010 Beta Ready: Will You Download?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Microsoft Office is one of those application suites that’s hard to avoid. The ubiquitous nature of Word itself requires anyone who plans to send out a document to another party to download the whole package. Job cover letters and resumes are made via Word, invoices are tallied together in Excel, complicated spreadsheets for everything from home improvement tasks to fantasy football or America’s Next Top Model games are mocked up in Excel as well, even David Byrne has figured out how to make art with PowerPoint. So, how many of you are going to download the free beta of Microsoft Office 2010?

More info on Office 2010 after the jump.

This week, Microsoft released a free public beta of Office 2010. The actual software suite won’t go on sale until next year. The beta will allow third-parties to start working on add-ons for the suite, including Microsoft’s integration of social networking sites with Outlook. The Guardian says, “[the] new Outlook Social Connector could connect with Linked In — a site for business users — and synchronise contact data. Connections with other social networks are planned. Also, it’s an open platform, so third parties will be able to create connectors for other services.”

One of the rad additions to Outlook is when it comes to long email threads. You know, those annoying, non-work related emails that involve some viral video that everyone on the cc list then needs to respond to, leaving you with 20+ emails on whether or not that whale really jumped on the sailboat. Now, those threads minimize into one single email within Outlook, that you can then expand if you want, or delete the entire thread, which leads to all future emails within the thread to go straight to your trash. You can also have Outlook “clean up” the thread, looking and deleting redundant replies.

Microsoft is also planning a competitor for Google Docs. Their Office Web Apps suite — web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote — is planned to be better at rendering Office files correctly.

David Byrne may be excited about improvements to PowerPoint, which will allow you to add and edit video files within the program and send them as part of your presentation.

Beta’s scare us a bit. It’s always worrisome to install a program on your computer that hasn’t fully been tested yet, but it’s also exciting to check out the new goods before the rest of the computing world does. Plus you can always be of influence to the final package.

What are some things you’d like to see in the new Microsoft Office?

(Image: Microsoft)